September 11, 2008

Crapo Effort On Guns And Parks Gains Momentum

Notes Senate Energy Committee vote on legislative efforts

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo calls a vote by a Senate Committee today relating to the right to transport and carry firearms in national parks and fish and wildlife refuges a positive development in his ongoing effort to free gun owners from conflicting regulations regarding firearms on public lands. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today voted to send to the full Senate legislation that clears the way for firearms to be legally transported and carried across federally-owned lands. Crapo is spearheading an administrative effort to repeal the current regulatory framework and replace it with one that respects the rights of the states to manage the transport and carrying of firearms on federal public lands within their state's jurisdiction.

"I strongly support 2nd Amendment rights, and we need to ensure that law-abiding gun owners are treated fairly regarding federal lands," Crapo said following the vote.

On December 17, 2007, Crapo sent a letter to Kempthorne requesting that the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service remove the conflicting restrictions on the carrying and transport of firearms by law-abiding gun owners, and defer instead to state gun laws, which is currently the practice of the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service. The letter was signed by a bipartisan group of 47 Senators. On February 11, 2008, another bipartisan group of four more Senators sent a letter to Secretary Kempthorne expressing their support for Senator Crapo's policy request. Kempthorne agreed to study the issue.

On April 30, 2008, Kempthorne proposed regulations that would permit law-abiding gun owners to transport and carry firearms in national parks and fish and wildlife refuges in states that permit doing so on their analogous public lands, such as in state parks and wildlife refuges. That was followed by a comment period that ended on July 30. Interior officials expect final comments on the rule to be promulgated by November 1, 2008. The legislation approved today by the Committee, was sponsored by Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) and co-sponsored by Idaho Senator Larry Craig.